We attended the IR Society Conference yesterday where the theme this year centered around ‘future-proofing’ business and the importance of driving long-term business thinking.
The conference covered topics and trends impacting investor thinking such as MiFID II, market disruption and how the role of IR can influence a company’s thinking, culture, values and behaviour.
The conference was hosted by BBC journalist and broadcaster, Evan Davis and featured a variety of insightful speakers. One of the sessions we found most useful in our role as communicators was the ‘Best Practice in IR’ session. What did the panellists recommend in terms of good practice IR?
The key takeaways for companies to act on from the session were to:
- Develop a concise and clear narrative that reflects who you are as a business and why you exist – not confusing purpose with your investment proposition
- Provide targeted, creative and innovative assets that reach your most important audiences
- Present a fair and balanced story – tell the whole story in a clear and transparent way, not just the good, but the bad as well
- Improve how you report – think like an investor, put yourself in their shoes – how would they want to receive information? What do they really want from the annual report or website?
- Clarify how company performance, purpose and strategy come together
- Amplify content to new and existing audiences – make your content work harder and use existing resources better to inform on progress and bring your messages to life
The overarching point was a more philosophical one that reverberated throughout the entire conference, made by Peregrine Riviere, founder of Riviere & Co, who said, “know who are you, so that you can clearly communicate why you exist”. This seems to be an often forgotten first rule of narrative building. This should be the first step toward developing a good corporate narrative and IR strategy. Because unless you know who you are and why you exist, you won’t be able to communicate your competitive advantage and grow as a business.
Companies need to take the time to think about who they are, why they exist and what makes them different in order to stand out and prosper in the long-term.
For more information, please contact Kay Kayachith, Investor Communications Adviser, MerchantCantos.